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Unvaccinated athletes will not be able to compete at cheerleading state championship

Cheerleading team members who are unvaccinated will not be allowed to compete at the state championship.

CLARENCE, N.Y. — Parents and coaches of cheerleaders from at least two schools in Western New York are speaking out about the upcoming 2022 NYSPHSAA Competitive Cheerleading Championships being held at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Cheerleading teams, including Clarence High School, told 2 On Your Side that the team was informed that unvaccinated athletes would not be allowed to compete at the state championship at RIT.

According to the RIT's COVID protocol, anyone over the age of five must provide proof of vaccination for large indoor events.

Clarence High School Varsity coach Amber Rector told 2 On Your Side that she was aware of the mandate but hoped the rules would change as COVID cases began to drop across the state. 

Rector also said that cheerleading teams have also reached out to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association to request that the venue be changed. 

NYSPHSAA told us that there was a meeting on February 2 and there was "no support to adjust the locations or formats of championship events."

Rector said she's disappointed for her cheerleading team. 

"The whole year has been challenging and rewarding, right. Our sport was so affected by COVID last year. These girls and these kids, their high school experience is all about COVID. We had no state championship last year or making up for lost time this year... So we're here practicing. But we don't know, if we're practicing for a state championship or not. So we're going to practice till the end."

NYSPHSAA also said, "Championship protocols were released in early September to ensure all members and teams were aware events would be held in scheduled venues and would follow the host's COVID protocols."

2 On Your Side reached out to RIT for comment and they referred us back to the state organization since it is their event.

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